For the Love of Farmers Markets

A survey of 250 U.S. shoppers, conducted by retail design firm King Retail Solutions (KRS), deconstructs the core elements that work together to make up a farmers market, as well as how much value shoppers place on each of those elements on average.

In a bid to help retailers better understand the key factors spurring the affinity many consumers have for these community-run street markets, Eugene, Ore.-based KRS synthesized its survey results into an interesting white paper to discover the most appealing aspects of the self-contained, hyper-local outlets.

KRS identified and surveyed 5 top U.S. farmers markets in distinct regions around the country:

  • Green City Market, Chicago
  • Ithaca Farmers’ Market, Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Little Italy Mercato, San Diego
  • Pike Place Market, Seattle
  • SFC Farmers’ Market, Austin

The 250 most recent Yelp reviews (50 for each market) were analyzed; any pros and cons mentioned were identified and catalogued.

The top five most cited “pros” of farmers markets, and the percentage of shoppers who mentioned strong bonds, include:

63% - Love the variety

55% - Love the prepared foods

54% - Love the entertainment

30% - Love the freshness

30% - Love that it's local

Meanwhile, the top five most cited “cons” of farmers markets, and the percentage of shoppers who mentioned any aspect as an irritant or deterrent to shopping there again, include:

20% - Say it's expensive

18% - Say it's crowded

17% - Say parking is a problem

16% - Say merchandise is inconsistent and/or out of stock

7% - Say weather is a problem

“Innovators in branding a retail experience, stores like Whole Foods and Starbucks and Target, have figured out how to turn the drudgery of a shopping trip into a sought-after experience," explains Christopher Studach, KRS creative director. "The next wave of innovation will come from the retailers who take that a step further, getting more local, tapping deeper into the communities they serve, and creating environments that entertain, educate, and allow shoppers to linger and enjoy their purchases.”

The insightful KRS Farmer's Market research report, which aims to help retailers create a “best of” street market experience in their stores, also includes a brief breakout of related outlier categories (i.e., women were more likely to weigh freshness as a pro). You can check it for yourself here.